Understanding the Walt Disney World Dining Plans
If this is your first time to Disney World in awhile, then you probably have some questions regarding the Walt Disney World dining plans. There are many different options to choose from, and it can be a bit confusing even for those who have purchased the dining plan in the past! Today we hope to help you understand the different dining plans, and give you the advice that you need to make the right choices! First we’ll go over a few of the terms that you’ll need to be familiar with in order to understand the plans, then we’ll go into the details of each plan.
Snack: A set number of snacks, per person, are included in every plan. A snack credit can be redeemed for a drink or a snack, such as an ice cream bar. The number of snacks you get depends on the plan you get, and the number of people in your party. Some snacks are better than others, so it makes sense to plan ahead to make the most of these credits. For instance, using a snack on a bottled water makes little sense when you can bring bottled waters in from Amazon or your local grocery store.
Quick-Service Meal: A quick-service meal is typically a fast-food type of meal that can be purchased all over the Disney parks and in the resorts. For instance, at Pizza planet, you will get a personal pizza, a salad, a cookie and a drink. If you are at a usual burger stand, you’ll get burgers, fries, a dessert and a drink. You also will hear the term “Counter-service” meals. These two expressions are basically interchangeable and refer to restaurants that don’t have servers. Each person will get a set number of QSM’s per day, and as an interesting side note, the system makes no distinction between a child’s QSM and an adult’s.
Table-Service Meal: A table-service meal is going to be a traditional sit-down restaurant with a server. You will want to make reservations for these meals. If you don’t, your choices might be pretty slim when it comes time to use them. There are three important factors to remember when choosing table-service meals.
- Some higher end restaurants take TWO credits per person. Be careful when booking!
- There is a distinction between a kid’s meal and an adult’s meal and these are calculated separately.
- Be sure and save money for tips! Tips are not included in the price. At most restaurants, a family of four will have a bill of 100 dollars at a bare minimum. So make sure and calculate these tips into your overall budget, or you’ll blow past your budget quickly.
Walt Disney World Dining Plans
There are currently three major dining plans to choose from. We will briefly go over the details of each plan, and then help you figure out whether a specific plan should be chosen.
Quick-Service Dining Plan
Each guest (3 and up) receives 2 Quick-Service Meal Credits a day and 1 snack credit per day. The quick-service plan is definitely the most affordable and cheapest plan to choose from. If you are coming for a short trip, if you have kids that can’t handle sit-down restaurants, or if you simply don’t want to spend much money on food, we suggest trying out this plan. However, on a long vacation, you can get bored of Quick-service meals in short order. There are so many great restaurants throughout Disney World, and you can’t take advantage of them with this plan, and you’d have to purchase your food at any sit-down restaurants that you decide to dine in.
Magic Your Way Plus Dining
Each guest receives 1 Table-Service Meal, 1 Quick-Service Meal, and 1 snack. This plan allows you to take advantage of many of the fine-dining throughout the resort, so make sure and book your reservations early!
For individuals trying out the dining plan for the first time, we highly recommend this plan. It gives you plenty of food to eat, at a price that isn’t too extravagant. You still will notice, however, that this plan still has only 2 meals a day, per person. With the amount of walking you do, you will possibly need more food. So this plan possibly will still leave you needing to budget for food throughout your vacation. When we choose this plan, we try and share meals at times, to conserve credits.
Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining
Each guest receives 3 meal credits per day. These credits can be used for Table-Service or for Quick-Service meals. Each guest also receives 2 snack credits per day!
This plan will basically cover all your food expenses (except alcohol and tips) and probably leave you with credits to spare. If you do choose this plan, I highly recommend trying a few of the nicer, 2-credit restaurants, because your entire family likely won’t be able to eat three big meals a day.
The Deluxe dining package carries a rather significant premium in cost over the standard dining plan.
Premium and Platinum Packages
These plans don’t offer any real upgrades in terms of the food that you eat. They both have the same numbers as the Deluxe Dining plan, with 3 meal credits per day, and 2 snack credits. Where both of these plans differ is in the amenities that they offer. There are signature dining experiences, free golf, great viewing of fireworks, Richard Petty experiences, and many other options.
For a full list of options of either of these plans, see Disney’s website here. The prices on these two packages are rather high, and for the average vacationer, just simply not worth it.
As you can see, the Dining plans can add quite a bit to your vacation. The ability to pre-pay for food can be helpful, and don’t discount the fact that it’s “fun” to eat at Disney. Why? We don’t know. It just is!
Now that you’ve got the information to make a good choice, it’s time to discuss reservations. This is where the fun begins! Head over to our article on Dining reservations to get the inside scoop!